Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reel Culture: 50 Movies You Should Know About by Mimi O'Connor

Reel Culture by Mimi O'Connor outlines fifty influential movies from the 20th Century.  These films have shaped our culture with memorable quotes, scenes, and characters.  From Audrey Helpburn's little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's to Al Pacino's famous shootout in Scarface, O'Connor describes what has made these films endure in American culture.  Furthermore, she references more films outside of the main fifty that are related via director, actor, or film style.  The book also outlines the plot for each movie, and there are definitely spoilers involved.  All these elements put together give young readers a solid account of American pop culture in cinema in an accessible, easy-to-reference format.

I was very impressed by the analysis of the films given the target audience of the book.  O'Connor goes much deeper than the performance of actors and famous directors.  I learned the most from the analysis regarding film styles, especially the significance of films that pioneered certain genres such as film noir.  These tidbits contribute to a dimension of the book that serves as a very brief snapshot of film in an art history class context.

The only issue I have with the book is the spoilers.  I would advise readers not to read the complete synopsis if they are interested in seeing the film.  However, the plot summary is a necessary evil for the book to deliver on a variety of levels.  Some films are most remembered for a twist ending or the death of a character, and the cultural references described by the book would be limited without spoilers.  Furthermore, the most sophisticated film analysis books also do not hold back on spoilers.  It is needed to properly discuss the merits of a film.

Overall, with the suggested reader audience in mind, I highly recommend Reel Culture for movie lovers and the pop culture aficionado.

Reviewer Age:22
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

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